Foreign ministers from Mercosur trading bloc’s members formally requested a meeting with authorities of the Venezuelan government and opposition, in an attempt to restart the dialogue with representatives of the Caribbean country.
Sources from the Argentine Foreign Ministry told Télam that Venezuelan Ambassador to Argentina, Carlos Martínez Mendoza, met yesterday with Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Raimondi and “told him that the request was received in Caracas, and that the request was being analyzed.”
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However, it seems hard that the bloc’s members will achieve any kind of significant progress soon. Neither camp in Venezuela seems to be willing to give an inch in their diametrically opposed stances, with the Constitutional Assembly called on by President Nicolás Maduro for Sunday looming on the horizon.
The crisis in Venezuela continues to worsen by the day, and the trend looks like it will continue. Supporters of the opposition coalition, Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), carried out a 48-hour-long general strike that virtually paralyzed the country. And taking into account to hold a massive marches across the country on the day the Assembly will take place, Maduro forbid since Friday any kind of public manifestation that could affect his initiative. Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice, General Néstor Reverol warned today that protesters who are arrested on the following days could face sentences of up to ten years in prison.
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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights requested today that the Venezuelan authorities respect its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and peaceful protesting.
Eight people died throughout the two-day-long strike, a result of the clashes between the two camps. On Thursday, when closing his campaign for the assembly, Maduro called the opposition to a round of dialogue before the polls open on Sunday. However, he clarified that canceling is off the table.
The MUD considers the assembly to be illegal because it wasn’t approved by a referendum. Moreover, it considers that the electoral system was designed to guarantee the Maduro administration will control the potential assembly.